• The Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The NPT came into force in 1970 and in 1995 it was extended indefinitely. Now with 188 states party to the treaty, the NPT has become a nearly universal document.

  • The nuclear safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This system is now being strengthened with the adoption of the Additional Protocol to the NPT by a number of NPT signatories.

  • The nuclear export control system: the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Club, 1975) and Zangger Committee (nuclear exporting countries, 1971).

The nonproliferation regime is enhanced by additional agreements, such as the International Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials During Their Use, Storage, and Transportation (1987) and several agreements creating regional nuclear weapon-free zones.

Under this regime, nations with nuclear capabilities are divided into three groups: nuclear-weapon states under the NPT (the United Kingdom, the United States, the Russian Federation, China, and France), non-nuclear weapon states who are parties to the NPT, and states that are known or believed to have nuclear weapons but are not party to the NPT (India, Pakistan, North Korea,6 and Israel). The NPT has been described as a nuclear bargain between the parties: the non-nuclear-weapon states agree that they will not seek to acquire or develop nuclear weapons, and that all materials or technologies that could enable them to make nuclear weapons will be subject to international safeguards. In exchange, the nuclear weapon states must work in good faith toward nuclear disarmament and a treaty on general and complete disarmament; they must put in place export controls for the same materials and technologies; and they must cooperate in contributing to the further development of civil nuclear energy, especially in non-nuclear-weapon states.

Thus, the United States and Russia, the nuclear-weapon states that were the chief focus of the workshop, are under treaty obligations to ensure that both their external relations and their internal policies and programs support nuclear nonproliferation goals. Externally, when nuclear weapon states support efforts in non-nuclear weapon states to develop civil nuclear technology programs, weapon states are required to ensure that they do not inadvertently facilitate the development of nuclear weapons in the non-nuclear weapon states. Internally, weapon states must have domestic programs for export control and physical protection, control, and accounting for weapons-usable materials, relevant equipment, and technologies. Weapons expertise, too, must be contained within weapons states.

Although this workshop focused on the bilateral cooperative relationship between the United States and Russia, some participants noted several important multilateral efforts that are also under way. The NPT framework described above provides a number of multilateral opportunities to strengthen cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation. The G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction was also cited as being particularly important. This effort, which arose out of the June 2002 G8 summit in Kannanaskis, Canada, anticipates that G8 nations will spend a total of $20 billion over ten years to secure and destroy nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and materials in the former Soviet Union.


North Korea remains a challenge to the Nonproliferation regime because the nation was a non-nuclear weapons state operating under IAEA safeguards, but claims to have withdrawn from the NPT. Both the United States and Russia are interested in convincing North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program.

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